Every day, there are about 30 Americans who die in drunk driving crashes. That works out to be more than 10,000 drunk driving-related deaths per year.
With these things in mind, police departments all across the country have committed to cracking down on those who choose to drive while under the influence of alcohol. There are over 1.5 million people arrested for DUI on an annual basis.
If you’re ever pulled over and arrested by a police officer who suspects you were driving drunk, you need to know how to handle a DUI. Regardless of whether or not you believe you deserved to be arrested, you should take the right steps throughout the DUI process.
Here are five things you need to know to make it through this process.
1. Begin by Cooperating With Police Right From the Start
When a police officer pulls you over and tells you that they suspect you may have been driving under the influence of alcohol, you might be tempted to become combative with them. Some people, especially those who are heavily intoxicated, will often argue with police officers over their intoxication level.
Do not do this! You’re going to make the situation worse than it has to be by getting involved in a confrontation with a police officer.
Instead, answer any questions that a police officer asks you and listen to the instructions that they provide. It’ll keep the process moving along and prevent you from giving police even more of a reason to place you under arrest.
2. Agree to Take Field Sobriety and Chemical Tests
If a police officer believes you’re intoxicated after speaking with you for a few minutes on the side of the road, they’ll often ask you to take part in a few tests for them.
First, they’ll run you through a series of field sobriety tests. These tests call for you to do things like stand on one leg or walk in a straight line. They’re designed to give police a better indication of whether or not you’re intoxicated.
Once you’re finished with those tests, the police may also ask you to take a breathalyzer test. This test will provide them with more information on your blood alcohol level and let them know if your BAC was above the legal limit of 0.08%.
There is also a chance that you may be asked to take another kind of chemical test, like a blood test, in the aftermath of a DUI arrest. This will help to further confirm your intoxication level at the time of your arrest.
If you refuse to take any of these tests, you could potentially face serious consequences later. Even if you’re not thrilled about the idea of taking part in them, you should still strongly consider doing it.
3. Contact a DUI Attorney as Soon as Possible
If you are arrested for DUI following field sobriety and chemical tests, you’ll be asked to spend at least a little bit of time behind bars sobering up. From there, you’ll be on your own when it comes to navigating the process of dealing with DUI charges.
You should begin this part of the process by finding a way to bail yourself out of jail, using either your own money or money provided to you by a local bail bondsman. Then, you should get in touch with a DUI attorney right away so that they can help guide the way for you.
You might find yourself asking the question, “How much does a DUI attorney cost?” and wondering whether or not you really need a lawyer on your side. Unless you have a strong legal background, the answer is always yes since it can be tough figuring out how to handle a DUI arrest and the charges that come along with it.
4. Work With Your Attorney to Schedule a DMV Hearing
One of the reasons why you need to hire a DUI attorney right away following a DUI arrest is because there’s a chance you could lose your license almost immediately if you don’t.
In most states, you’re going to have ten days—which includes any weekend days and holidays—to schedule a DMV hearing to determine whether or not your license will be suspended right away. If you don’t schedule this hearing, you’ll lose your license, no questions asked.
The DUI attorney that you bring on board to represent you can arrange for a DMV hearing to take place. They can also answer any questions you might have about what’s going to occur during your DMV hearing.
5. Plead “Not Guilty” to DUI Charges and Go to Trial With a Lawyer’s Help
When you’re arrested and charged with DUI, you’re going to face more than just a DMV hearing. You’re also going to need to answer to the criminal charges in court.
This is when it’s going to be especially important for you to have an attorney in your corner. You could be looking at everything from a suspension of your driver’s license and fines to jail time if you’re found guilty of DUI.
You should always plead “not guilty” to DUI at the start of your trial and then let your DUI case play out in court. Your lawyer should be able to argue on your behalf and help you walk out of court with the best possible outcome.
Make the Most of a Bad Situation by Knowing How to Handle a DUI
Getting arrested on DUI charges is an overwhelming experience for most people. They don’t know how to handle a DUI and what to do next once they’re arrested.
Now that you know a little bit more about working your way through the DUI process, you can take the right steps following a DUI arrest. From cooperating with police to working with the right lawyer, you can help the process play out more smoothly than it would otherwise.
Learn how to get your life back on the right track following a DUI arrest by reading through the other articles on our blog.